I am not sure where to begin as I have never written a blog. I prefer to tell my story face to face, so the person I am telling it to can experience the joy with me.
Joy Prom Las Vegas started for me in June of 2008 while I was sitting at a dog park talking with Bobby, a fellow dog lover. We were talking about the weather, our lives and families, our dogs, our work, and things that were special to us. Bobby informed me that he was a pastor at a local church and had started an event called Joy Prom, which is a full-scale prom for teenagers and adults with cognitive and physical impairments. He explained that the girls get their hair and make-up done, while the guys get their shoes shined. They then walk down a red carpet, with volunteers screaming for autographs, as an MC announces their names.
Hearing the joy in Bobby’s voice overwhelmed me and I knew from that moment, that I needed to be a part of this magical night. Right there, without even knowing what would be asked of me or what I would need to ask of MUD, I pledged my support and told him from this point on, my wife Allison, MUD, and I would take care of all the hair and make-up needs. Since that day in 2008, the wonderful owners of MUD have not questioned anything that I have requested for Joy Prom Las Vegas.
In the beginning, we supplied the make-up and brushes and let each of the guests choose their favorite color (or colors) from our lip glaze collection to keep. Now, each guest also gets a goodie bag of eye colors and cheek colors to take home with them.
The attendees make this event special every year. Regardless if I have flown in from abroad that day or the day before, I am never too tired to smile. I get to see these amazing people who I only see once a year. When you get that hug because they remember you, it makes it that much more gratifying. Some guests even come with their make-up already done, but that does not stop them from coming into the make-up room to pick up their favorite lip glaze from MUD.
This year’s event meant just a little more to me because MUD’s CEO, Tate Holland, and his wife, Kayci finally got to come and experience the magic of Joy Prom – just seeing the smile on Tate’s face, I knew right then that he now fully understood why I do this event year after year.
All the interactions that I have there are very special; they are moments that I hold close to my heart, but one interaction this year stood out. A couple came in to the make-up room, and the gentleman was pushing this beautiful woman in a white dress in a wheelchair up to the make-up station that my wife, Allison was at. As my wife was doing her make-up, I asked him how he was doing and that question led into a full-blown conversation. He pointed at his finger and was so excited to tell me, “she said yes!”. He told me that she works five days a week, and he three days a week, while the rest of the time he spends cleaning the house, but that’s okay because she said yes!
The reason this interaction stood out to me is that no matter who we are, what color our skin is, what religion we practice or what cognitive and or physical impairments we may have, we all have the same gripes and joys that come with life. To see the smile on his face when he was talking about his fiancé, and then to hear him complain about cleaning the house in the next breath, reminded me of myself, how much I love my wife, and that I don’t like to do chores either.
After all the fanfare was done and the guests had dinner, it was time for music and dancing. Even after we did our part in the make-up room, we made it a priority to go see everyone having fun on the dance floor, because in that moment, no matter what is going on in the world, the only thing that matters is the music. This year, as we were in the dance hall, I heard Kayci say to Allison, “I need to get him out of here before he cries like a baby!”, as I turned around I saw Tate with a big smile on his face and his eyes watering, because in that moment he realized nothing else mattered.
Thank you, Bobby, wherever you may be, for starting this wonderful event so many years ago. It has changed my life, as well as so many others for the better. And a huge thank you to all of the volunteers who continue to help out with this event, and the M Casino and Resort, who so graciously donated so much.
-Troy Watson, Director of Sales at MUD Cosmetics
Click here to find out more about Joy Prom Las Vegas